It is in the in between spaces that our family feels the most solid and secure. Sitting in an airport lounge, we know the drill. We have done this so many times.
In the place where we live, we don't fit in 100%, and in the place we are going to, we will stand out. Intercultural marriage, transracial adoption, and multiple citizenships mean that we fit in everywhere, and nowhere at all.
I walk to the airport bathroom holding Sprout's hand. "I feel the most solid and connected as a family when we travel, do you feel that?" "No" is her simple seven year old response.
Do they feel these cracks? Do they feel this third culture straddle we are always doing? Maybe not.
The rules of travel are clear and straightforward. Take off your shoes, belt, and jewelry, and be exposed down to your bones. Once you remove the exterior embellishments, the bones are all the same. Sprout sends her doll through the x-ray machine, "I saw her, she didn't have any hair!" she exclaims. Only the frame shows, the rest is erased.
In the in between spaces I let my diction flow into what feels comfortable and "me" at this point. Jacket becomes jumper, and trash can becomes bin. I feel my voice lift and lilt in ways that set me out as different and potentially try hard in my new life, but simply sound like my voice to me. I stop censoring myself for what I "should be" and just am.
We watch novice travellers, full size pillows brought in hopes of comfortable sleep. My children pull their entertainment out of backpacks, and Sprout dances in the lounge aisles, knowing how confined she will soon be.
I remember the time I brought jump ropes, and we passed the time in Kuala Lumpur skipping.
We tally up the flight times, the layovers, and imagine, many hours from now, falling exhausted into foreign beds, our rental car being our new home away from home, the one thing that will be constant in three weeks of travel. Maybe that's just me, needing something secure?
"Remember this is a night flight. You can eat dinner, then watch one movie, and then it's bedtime." we remind them. Yea, yea, they know, they've done this all before.
This is somewhere we belong - in the in between spaces. I am happy here.